Harpers Ferry ready to welcome visitors for spring and post-pandemic tourism

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HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. (WDVM) — The eastern panhandle town of Harpers Ferry is looking forward to spring tourist season. There is a lot of optimism for visitors making their way to the historic community.

Mayor Wayne Bishop is not seeking re-election. He is looking back on a term where the town is running efficiently with a modernized communications network and a state-of-the-art $6.5 million water system. And plans are moving forward with the sometimes controversial Hilltop House project to attract even more visitors.

“They’ve applied for a demolition permit for that old building up there,” said Bishop. “And sometime in the future, they’re going to move ahead with that. And there is also an agreement that was drawn up with town that gives them up until 2030 to actually build that project.”

Hilltop House holds some mystique for Harpers Ferrians.

Daisy Nordyke at the Town’s Inn said, “I think that it’s a really neat piece of history. Like when you walk on the canal you can see it up on the hill you can see it sitting there and it’s like it’s still like its stuck in time.”

Karan Townsend is an innkeeper in the heart of Harpers Ferry. She has carefully followed plans for Hilltop House as a member of the town’s planning commission.

While she was skeptical at first, she now said, “It’s exactly what I would want for the town, so I hope it goes forward. It’s a big thing.”

Mayor Bishop said, “I think that we are entering into a new era where tourism is going to be much heavier than it was in the past. And so the challenges for future administrations is going to be maintaining that historic village feel for the people that actually live here while encouraging our businesses and tourism to flourish in the gateway to the state.”

After 30 years serving the town of Harpers Ferry, Mayor Bishop will not seek re-election and will pursue business interests in the private sector.

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